The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Seoul Trip Day 1: Bukchon - a village in the city

I'm glad that having a kid hasn't stopped us from travelling. My son turned 18 months yesterday, and this little boy has jet-setted to more countries and cities in his little lifetime than I had before I was 24. He can now add Seoul to his list of places he's been too, although he most likely will not remember all of the travels we undertook in the past year or so, nor will he appreciate the trips we'll be taking in the near future. A bit of a shame, really.

Last Friday, after a 2.5 hour flight and dealing with the usual immigration, customs and baggage affairs at both Narita and Incheon Airports, we arrived at our hotel in Myeongdong around 3:30pm. Although it was almost at the end of the day, we took advantage of the warm weather and clear day to head into Bukchon Village to view the Korean traditional hanok houses. I was armed with a map for the walking tours suggested on, so we didn't waste precious time getting lost and wandering around (at least not until it was time to look for dinner). Seoul is basically a concrete jungle (typical of a big city), so it was nice to experience a quaint old part of Seoul that gave us a little cultural encounter with the city's history. We saw a lot in less than a couple of hours, so there are plenty of photos to show. A quick spiel about Bukchon before photos - it was built between two palaces to serve as a residential area for high-ranking palace officials, and it is the last neighbourhood in Seoul with a high concentration of hanok.

Shop fronts in old-style building; and up a quiet alleyway:

Entering the Bukchon Cultural Centre which has been built hanok-style, allowing us a closer peek into hanok without having to invade anyone's privacy

Watching an artist at work inside the Cultural Centre:

The streets were bustling with children at play and vendors selling fresh fruit and vegetables on the backs of their lorries:

The gate to the residence of Inchon, which was used as a place of secret meetings among anti-Japanese independence activists in preparation for the Declaration of Independence from the Japanese in 1919; and on a street corner, a traditional-style hanok juxtaposed against multi-storey apartment buildings:

Rooftop views:

A view up and down one of the streets in the traditional hanok village area:

This is just day one of a 3-day trip, so stay tuned for more on sights and food!


  1. Looks gorgeous and very un-Seoul like! Must remember it for the next time I go. Great choice staying in Myeongdong - shame that you were only in Seoul for three days. Love that you and Rob travel as much as you do with Zak, it reminds you that things like this isn't impossible with motherhood!
    Ellen xxx

  2. Bukchon is a nice get-away from the city, but still within the city (less than 10mins by taxi from Myeongdong), and I think it's probably the highlight of the trip for me :)
    Travelling with a young child has its challenges, but I'm not going to let it stop me from travelling!